County considering multiple contracts for drug dog, response teams and jail communications
Next week, Cascade County Commissioners will consider approving a contract for the purchase of Zeke, a German Shepherd/Belgian Malinois drug detection dog.
The cost of the dog is $8,500 and will be funded through the drug forfeiture fund of the Cascade County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputy Kasey Whitsitt has been selected as the dog’s handler and she’ll be training in Tennessee this fall when she’ll meet her new partner.
Sheriff Jesse Slaughter said his office budgeted for the dog, which will be used for drug detection and tracking.
The dog will be used by CCSO patrol units, Slaughter said.
Since the department has three patrol teams, Slaughter said his goal is to eventually have three drug detection dogs and three handlers since they’ll get a lot of work and burnout is a concern.
The CCSO citizens academy is working on fundraising for more drug detection dogs and the public is invited to make donations.
Zeke will be able to detect marijuana, meth, heroin and cocaine, Slaughter said. The dog will also be used in the jail to search out drugs.
The dog will also be able to help with tracking in search and rescue operations, Slaughter said.
Zeke will live with Whitsitt and Slaughter said the CCSO will use the same agencies that donated services for the electronic detection dog that the county recently acquired.
During Tuesday’s meeting, commissioners will also consider an interlocal agreement with the City of Great Falls for the Rescue Task Force Team to be able to respond anywhere in the county to an active shooter situation under a unified command.
CCSO recently trained with the Great Falls Fire Department and Great Falls Police Department to be able to get medical responders into mass casualty scenes quickly in the hopes saving victims.
Commissioners will also consider a contract with Securus Technologies, Inc. to provide telecommunications to inmates at the Adult Detention Center. The contract will also include maintenance services. The contract term is Sept. 25, 2019 through Sept. 25, 2025 at no cost to the county.
Slaughter said the contract will replace the phone technology in the visitation areas and provide tablets to inmates. They can use the tablets to make phone calls, watch videos, purchase items through the jail commissary and more.
Slaughter said the technology is provided a no cost to the county since all of the activities on the tablets have associated fees, which Securus collects, but provides a percentage to the county.
The new phones will have FaceTime capability that will be monitored by detention officers.
Conversations with attorneys will still be protected, Slaughter said. Attorneys will be able to enter their information and the system will not monitor the call, though it will still be logged.
The tablets will also have programming such as anger management, Slaughter said, to assist with any court mandated treatment.
Slaughter said the hope is that the technology will help keep inmates busy and out of any trouble and also reduce visitations, which can overwhelm the detention center.